Cisco and CA Technologies have been solution partners for years integrating CA IT management solutions with Cisco Data Center and cloud infrastructure. On Jan. 27th, at CiscoLive Milan, the two companies will demonstrate the next generation data center – highlighting synergies in DevOps automation and Unified Infrastructure management.  Why is this, a turning point in IT evolution?

In a recent blog, I talked about the growing agility gap in mid-to-large data centers – that in spite of a decade of unified fabrics, virtualized services and controller abstractions, the demands for scale, performance and security are growing faster than IT can satisfy them. This is due to new mobile, social and Big-Data applications that are much more dynamic due to multi-tenancy, higher demand peaks, more distributed users, broader device support, varying performance needs, 24×7 global usage, and changing security vulnerabilities.

I also said that while the evidence of the agility gap is showing up in ballooning network reconfigurations (such as ports, VLANs, subnets, security services, load-balancing, flow optimizations, monitoring), the solution lies in accelerating DevOps – the relatively new discipline of translating dynamic application and tenant needs into an optimal data center topology – and not just in a controller based programming.

CA Technologies is now showing that DevOps processes can be accelerated by orders of magnitude using Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). This is resulting in application optimized infrastructure, much lower TCO and faster time to new services.

DevOps, the frontline in closing the agility gap

DevOps evolved from the need of global enterprises to meet competitive application demands with “continuous application delivery.” Financial services, Healthcare, Hospitality and Retail are among the sectors for whom the frequency of application changes have shrunk from 18 months, to daily and even multiple times a day!

Continuous Application Delivery

Drivers include mobile apps that need continuous enhancements, cloud scaling,  Big-Data and the use of Agile Methodology where major code changes occur in weekly or daily “sprints.”  DevOps brings continuous integration and operational processes to allow several Developer, Quality Assurance and Application-production teams to collaborate to improve agility of application deployments.


The DevOps approach has enabled enterprises to begin to innovate for transformation – not just in the applications themselves, but also the development methodologies for such software changes, getting application environments ready and how they managing multiple releases in parallel and swiftly.

But operational processes are not enough.  And their focus has been on the Dev-Test side of the cycle and not their automation or translation to production infrastructure. This infrastructure is constantly being provisioned, de-provisioned and configured for networking contracts between each application tiers  – to satisfy the daily-weekly cadence of application releases.

CA Technologies leverages Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure in DevOps

Cisco’s approach to Application Centric Infrastructure defines an operational methodology for next generation data centers – where DevOps and infrastructure teams synchronize application and user needs to the infrastructure capabilities in real-time, encompassing  Compute, Storage, Network, bare metal, virtualization, private/public/hybrid cloud).

Cisco ACI offers critical advantages for modern IT data centers:

  • Multi-tenant capable logical model with contextual security
  • De-coupling of application and policy from IP infrastructure
  • Ability to define application network profiles and apply them
  • Integration of physical and  virtual infrastructure elements with end-to-end visibility
  • Continuous tracking of all application dependencies
  • Architected for North and Southbound Openness

For Application and DevOps teams, Cisco ACI merges the iterative work of multiple specializations in to a single application driven policy model.  This results in order-of-magnitude faster deployment and operational control of dynamic applications.  During planning, it is possible to replace the work of describing hundreds of connections and configurations, with simply describing application layout and security needs.  Once the application profile is established, its intent is enforced dynamically in the form of connections and configurations of virtual and physical devices. During provisioning, testing and certification, it is possible to configure hundreds of devices with one-click provisioning and roll-back.  During operations, it is possible to quickly control compliance metrics by combining real-time telemetry and centralized visibility with intelligent workload placement.  This is a sharp contrast to the virtualization sprawl and performance degradation that can occur if service changes simply fill available capacity in the data center.

For Cloud automation  teams, ACI transforms application instantiation processes that are inherently complex in to easily consumable application policy, thru open APIs.  Cloud suites can leverage ACI as an application control point for all network functions in order to provide coordinated, comprehensive automation of the entire infrastructure.  They can use the application-relevant health feedback for real-time capacity and performance optimization The rich APIs also simplify integration with existing tools for Configuration & Compliance, Fault Management, Orchestration and Automation, Identity Management and IT Ticketing Service Desk.

CA Technologies has leveraged Cisco ACI to create a holistic DevOps solution.


In this integrated solution:

  1. CA DevOps delivers Adaptive & Intelligent & automated application operations for the entire lifecycle
  2. Cisco ACI delivers Application policy, Infrastructure Automation, Security, Multi-tenancy, High-performance fabrics and Advanced Telemetry.  Combined, these capabilities automate:
    a. provisioning of application environments and service virtualization
    b. Operations monitoring and control
  3. The combination accelerates application delivery for DevOps  resulting in dramatically lower TCO and TTM

Combined with industry leading DevOps management tools from CA Technologies, Cisco ACI is poised to drive a DevOps transformation in the Global Enterprise.  For a perspective from CA Technologies, also, read Andi Mann’s excellent blog.

Tomorrow starts here.  Come and see CA Technologies’ DevOps-ACI demo and Theater presentation at CiscoLive Milan.

ACI  integrations are changing the IT landscape.  For example, ACI is also being integrated with Cisco’s own management software systems – including Cisco UCS Director – as well as other ecosystem management software partners.


Sandeep Agrawal

Sr. Product Line Manager

Security Business Group